claudine: (Default)
2010-03-20 01:39 pm

blogging elsewhere

I am mostly blogging elsewhere now, but will keep this account for following others, and (potentially) for restricted posts.
claudine: (Default)
2009-07-01 12:06 pm
Entry tags:

tip: keep an 'in case of emergency' document

I like to have basic emergency procedures, and as I'm about to travel I sent my 'in case of emergency' document to my parents and housemates. Some have replied saying that I was very organised, but I don't think it takes much effort. I keep an electronic document that gets updated when there is a relevant change in circumstances (e.g. change of home or employment) and keep a printed copy in the front of my diary and my luggage when travelling. It is, in fact, not much more than a copy of the personal details form that gets pre-printed in many diaries, but keeping it electronically means I don't have to copy it out into a new diary every year.

Adjust as appropriate:

* my phone number (in case I've got separated from my diary or luggage)

* home phone number (to contact housemates)

* parents/spouse/next-of-kin phone numbers

* employer phone number

* phone number of home parish + religion/denomination and any relevant details (e.g. 'last rites')

* allergies

* blood group

* spectacle prescription

* Medicare number

* private health insurance membership

* organ donor register number, or organ donation instructions

* date document was updated

For me, this all fits on one A5 sheet of paper.
claudine: (Default)
2009-06-30 08:13 pm
Entry tags:

Founders and Survivors newsletter

The first issue of 'Chainletter' [0], the newsletter of the Founders and Survivors project, has been published at

[0] No, I did not come up with that name.
claudine: (Default)
2009-06-23 01:05 pm

imperfect import from Livejournal

I've tried importing my old Livejournal entries into Dreamwidth. They've stopped after mid-2005 due to an 'invalid text encoding' error. I've used so many different Livejournal posting clients I can't guess what has gone wrong. Anyway, the old posts will stay at [ profile] claudine_c.
claudine: (Default)
2009-06-22 10:03 pm
Entry tags:

vocation update

This is an update on my ongoing vocation question to help members of my various (sometimes overlapping) social circles to keep up with where I am; I think I need help keeping up with myself too!

[This is also an attempt at getting back into blogging or online journaling, and I've got a new place for that, at Dreamwidth, which is built on a fork of the Livejournal code. My Dreamwidth posts should be cross-posted to Livejournal though.]

Read more... )
claudine: (Default)
2009-06-20 10:45 am

First post!

Here I am on Dreamwidth! More (real) content to come.
claudine: (face)
2005-06-05 09:41 pm

Boy gets girl

In contrast to Two Brothers, I didn't know anything about Boy gets girl before I saw it (except that I had a ticket for it on Saturday afternoon). This play by Rebecca Gilman is about a relationship that goes wrong. I'm not sure how much I should reveal, but a clue is provided by the publicity photo, which shows a woman in her bedroom, wearing a nightdress, holding a hammer. I thought the play started slowly and I was afraid it was going to be a boring soap opera, but it took an interesting turn about a third of the way through. The quality of the acting, especially the American accents, was variable, but the central character was played quite convincingly. (The posters in the foyer listed the names of the cast but didn't match them up with their characters, which is unusual. I didn't recognise any actors and I categorically refuse to pay $8 for a "program" that consists mostly of advertising.)

I am "minding" Liz's Melbourne Theatre Company subscription in addition to her house. When I got here I wrote the dates and names of plays in my diary and put tickets in my tickler file, but I may not think of an upcoming performance again until the week before. There are a few more surprises in store for me this year.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-28 11:20 pm

a day off

I didn't do any work yesterday. I had planned to work on my statistics assignment, due in ten days, but I allowed myself the morning to sleep in and catch up with newspapers and weblogs. Then I was hungry, so I went out for lunch and also stocked up on groceries. When I got home I felt so tired that all I could do was take a nap. Afterwards I decided I just wasn't in a statistics zone and allowed myself the rest of the day for catching up on (non-study) reading.

I don't, in fact, give myself enough of these full days off. I often find my days at the office so draining (while also interesting) that I can't concentrate on study in the evening, so I dedicate my non-office days to study. I had this notion that I would make Sundays true days of rest, but habits of procrastination and stress mean that I felt I couldn't take Sundays off. I can only think of perhaps two real days I have taken off since I moved house in April (apart from the days I spent moving things).

Obviously scheduling Sundays off hasn't worked. What is happening now is that I feel obliged to do a few hours of brain-work every day until my body gives up, as it did yesterday. Perhaps I just shouldn't feel guilty about resting when I need to, and try to remind myself to take some time off before I get too tired.

I don't want to be a workaholic. Life is too short for that.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-28 02:36 am


Affluenza is an American PBS television program and associated book that examines the urge to over-consumption in modern society. It is also the title of the forthcoming book by Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute. I'm sure that the new book deals with similar issues and comes to similar conclusions, in an Australian context, as the American original. I just think it would have been useful for Hamilton and his co-author to use a different title (even if it had the catchy "affluenza" somewhere in the title) to prevent confusion and show that they didn't make up the word themselves.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-28 02:27 am

d'oh! a missed opportunity

Sometimes I let email pile up unread for a day or two. This morning I was going through the pile and found I'd won a two-for-one pass to The Agronomist, a film about Haitian activist Jean Dominique. The pass was for the weekend but I needed to collect it from the postgraduate association yesterday (they're not open on weekends). The email was BCC'd to all winners so it wasn't picked up by my "This is addressed to you! Read it now!" colour-coding filter. Maybe I should colour-code all mail that comes from the university. That will prevent me from missing library reminders too, though that hasn't been a big problem yet.

I will probably try to see this film anyway, but it would have been nice to be able to bring a friend.

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claudine: (Default)
2005-05-27 08:47 am

Book meme

Via [ profile] tcpip

1. Total number of books owned: When I was about seven, I was featured in a newspaper because I had a hundred books and my mother was proudly bewailing the fact that I'd forget to eat because I was so busy reading. I lost count of how many books I own long ago. Is about a thousand close enough? The majority of books I read are not owned, but borrowed from libraries or friends or shared through Bookcrossing.

2. Last book bought: The last book I bought was the Dictionary of epidemiology, fourth edition, edited by John Last and others. The last book that I bought and read from cover to cover would be Jon Krakauer's Into the wild.

3. Last book read: I just finished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple hibiscus and have just started Randy Shilts's And the band played on.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me: This changes every few months. Currently:

  • Paul Farmer, Infections and inequalities, a collection of essays on how closely poverty is associated with preventable infectious diseases in the majority world. Farmer is an anthropologist and physician working in Haiti. I'll never be like him, but when I'm getting bogged down in the minutiae of study, it's people like Farmer who remind me that I started this public health course because I see it as a tool for justice.
  • Tracy Kidder, Mountains beyond mountains. Journalist follows Farmer around in Haiti, Cuba and Boston. You can tell from Farmer's writings that he's a Harvard brainiac. Kidder's biography shows some of the personality and colour to Farmer's life and tries to show how he became the man he is.
  • Henry Handel Richardson, The getting of wisdom. I wasn't an orphan from country Victoria sent to boarding school, but there were many other aspects of young Laura's story that resonated with me. Laura is a bright child who doesn't fit in at her posh school, but by the end of her time there she begins to see a wider and more hopeful world outside. I think I read somewhere that Richardson either attended or based the book on the school that I was sent to eighty years later, which is a bit creepy.
  • George Orwell, Collected Essays. Why this, and not one of the novels? Sometimes, when life seems so busy that I feel I can't commit to a book-length narrative, I like to dip into collections or anthologies. This collection is a condensation of Orwell's four-volume collected essays, journalism and letters. It contains such classics as "Why I write" and "Politics and the English language", to which I keep returning, as well as a variety of essays and reviews on diverse topics.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The cost of discipleship. This book dissects the Gospel of Matthew, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, and tries to show what it might mean to live the kind of life that Jesus describes in these sayings. I've often felt that Matthew's is the most demanding of the Gospels, and the one that offers the greatest inspiration for a life that is good and just. I bought this book in the early days of the War on Terror, and Bonhoeffer's words along with the example of his own life helped stop me from completely giving up all hope for humanity.

5. Tag 5 more LJ'ers to fill this out in their journals:
[ profile] agonis, [ profile] cafemusique, [ profile] mmcirvin, [ profile] nilasae, [ profile] timchuma.
claudine: (face)
2005-05-26 06:39 am

Purple Hibiscus

I first heard about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Purple Hibiscus when it was shortlisted for last year's Booker Prize. It's the story of a fifteen-year-old girl's discovery outside her sheltered and oppressive family home, which I found as "unputdownable" as any thriller. The story centres around young Kambili's fear of her oppressive father and the contrast between her life and those of her cousins and schoolmates.

The outrageous punishments that Kambili and her brother Jaja suffer for the most minor transgressions might seem completely impossible for any parent to contemplate. I don't personally know anyone who lived through similar experiences, but Papa's insistence on perfection and maintaining nearly unachievable standards are familiar to me. I suppose that obsessiveness combined with a belief that "what does not kill you makes you stronger" might conceivable lead a parent to do these horrible things while believing that they were really in the child's best interests.

The novel is about more than Papa's behaviour; it also describes the contradictions of colonial life and the unstable political atmosphere of modern Nigeria. But it was the story of Kambili's learning to sing and (even!) laugh that really touched me.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-26 06:13 am

The Wars of the Roses

Yesterday I saw the Bell Shakespeare Company's double bill of Henry VI and Edward IV. These two plays, which I haven't seen or read before, fill the gaps between Henry V and Richard III and tell how a feud between Richard Plantegenet and the Duke of Somerset descended into a full-scale civil war.

I arrived a few minutes late (silly trams), was ushered into the back of the theatre and the first thing I saw was Big Hair. One of the things that really irritates me about modern theatre and opera productions in Australia is that, when presenting older or historical works, there is this fashion for weirdly anachronistic set and costume designs. I can understand using an authentic or period setting, though that's not usually necessary. I can understand using contemporary design, as (to me) it is the text and story that really matter. I can even understand, on some occasions, using settings from a different historical period when it helps to illustrate the story. I thought the film of Richard III, set in the 1930s, was a good example of this. What I cannot understand is why the English and French nobility were given 1980s Big Hair and dressed up in tracksuits, sneakers and Transformer-style robotic battle armour. At least the older actors were allowed to keep what was left of their hair in a more dignified style.

Phew, now I've got that off my chest.

I saw quite a few BSC productions in the late 1990s. I thought, then, that the professionalism of the company was rather mixed. It seemed that John Bell and his wife Anna Volska appeared in every play, which was fine, but a little repetitive. The company was made up of a few good actors and quite a few recent drama school graduates or soapie stars who seemed to be filling time before their real big break. One of the more excruciating moments I recall was Tara Morice as Juliet standing on the balcony with a look that said "Duh, I don't remember what comes next."

This time round, the ensemble was more professional and polished. Darren Gilshenan was a particularly slimy Richard III. (First Hitler, then Richard III, why am I being followed by horrible tyrants? Wait till you see my next book review.) I'm not sure about the actor who played Henry VI; he came across as an ineffectual dork, but I supposed that is how Shakespeare was portraying him. Blazey Best (if that is her real name) as Queen Margaret was a bit over-the-top and takes the prize for Most Exaggerated Mock-French Accent. If the two plays were not presented in full, it sure felt like it: four hours with one interval. The performance was physically demanding, too, with a lot of fight scenes; I wonder whether they could have been cut back a little bit.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-23 10:16 pm


In January I'll be going to the Comprehensive Rural Health Programme at Jamkhed, India for a short course in primary health care. Through Bookcrossing I was able read the book Jamkhed which tells the story of this groundbreaking primary health programme.

The health centre at Jamkhed, in Maharashthra state, was established in 1970 by the Aroles, two young doctors who resisted the lure of academic careers in the USA and chose to work with some of the poorest and most neglected communities in their native country. They actively involved the local communities in achieving health and development goals that have inspired public health workers around the world.

This book gives some insight into the Aroles' motivations and recounts some of the major challenges and milestones in the programme's history. Many local health workers and villagers are allowed to tell their own stories in this book. Jamkhed is an exciting and successful ongoing experiment in positive community development. I am really looking forward to going there to learn about the programme through direct experience.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-20 04:08 am

Der Untergang/Downfall

Yesterday Timchuma and I saw Der Untergang (Downfall), which depicts the last days of the Third Reich and is set mostly inside Hitler's bunker. Bruno Ganz plays Hitler as a human, not a caricature, but a pretty unpleasant human nonetheless. I think showing him as a man with an affectionate side, not just as "pure evil", is in a way more terrifying because one realises that love and brutality can coexist in the one person.

I haven't seen Ganz in many films; possibly only in an Aussie film, The last days of Chez Nous. That reminds me that Wings of Desire has been on my must-see list for a very long time. The same humanising applies to the other cabinet members in this film. Even Goebbels, while looking and sounding super-creepy, seems to be made of flesh and blood. The fate of the Goebbels family (especially of the children, but also of the fanatical Frau Goebbels) is perhaps even more tragic than that of Hitler's. Some of the other characters, especially Fegelein and Speer, were almost likeable. Browsing photos of some of the generals and ministers on Wikipedia, it seems to me that the film-makers did try to make the actors appear historically accurate. Himmler in particular looked quite Himmler-like.

Most of my interest in the second world war has been in the Pacific region, and in the Shoah/Holocaust. I think I first came across the biographer Joachim Fest's name in a Holocaust history subject. The Pacific war was understandably not at the top of Hitler's mind in April 1945, but I was a bit surprised to see the Final Solution reduced to a throwaway line. Admittedly, by this stage (according to the film) Hitler had given up on the German people as well.

Oh, here's Tim's review.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-19 08:57 am

guide to setting up s9y

I have written a guide to setting up a s9y weblog for users of nipl/alice/beatrice/free community. Some of this information is specific to the nipl setup, but some of it could also be useful for new users of s9y in general.

Hey, I'm a new user of s9y myself, who am I kidding?

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-13 05:00 am


I have Wanderlust set up for multiple IMAP accounts! Hooray! But why can't I just stop playing with my system and settle down?

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-12 04:30 am

conference clash

I had been looking forward to attending Victoria University's conference on Cooperating with East Timor in June. I'm involved with the Friends of Same/Manufahi and hoped to learn about what Australian-based community groups can do to help local development in Timor. Now I've learned that on the same weekend, Latrobe University is holding a conference on researching refugee health, which is something I spend a lot of time doing at work and university. Good thing I hadn't registered for the Timor conference yet! Ideally I would try to be in both places at once, but as that isn't physically possible I'm going to have to (gulp!) decide between the two. I have to think about where I see my vocation taking me in the near future. Where could I be most useful -- in a developing country situation such as Timor, or working with marginalised people in my own country? Maybe the two don't necessarily exclude each other, but I should try to find a focus for the short term.

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claudine: (face)
2005-05-11 01:59 am

Backpack from 37signals

As part of my neverending quest for the perfect productivity/time-management system, I have been trying out the recently launched Backpack from 37signals. I'd been using the same company's Tadalists, which provides a simple web interface to todo-lists. 37signals also operate Basecamp, a web-based collaborative project management system. Backpack seems to fill a niche between the two: it provides a space for notes/journal entries, to-do lists and (for paying users) file and image attachments, and it is possible to share project pages with other approved users. What I like about the system is its email integration. I can send notes and list items to a specific address and they will appear on the appropriate Backpack page. This allows me to write notes to myself when I'm offline or away from my computer (I can send email from my phone) and the information will be available on my Backpack site next time I'm online. I can also mail Backpack pages to myself.

Backpack has just launched a mobile version for phones and PDAs. It works on my Sony Ericsson T630. Now I have both read and write access to Backpack wherever I have mobile phone coverage.

In September I'll be travelling to Singapore, where most friends and relatives will have modern computers and fast net access, but I'll need my todo lists and project notes easily accessible from the net, as I don't have a laptop. Backpack solves that problem. In January, if all goes well, I'll be travelling to a remote area of India where net access will be sporadic and expensive and I won't have mobile phone access. I may have to return to pen and paper then.

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claudine: (Default)
2005-05-10 04:36 am; s9y->lj

Sam Watkins has established a free community server at He's (or rather we're) offering a range of services including email, weblogs and jabber. Personal weblogs are offered using Serendipity, which is new to me but looks like a powerful weblog engine. I'm writing this to see whether I've managed to get the plugin to post s9y entries to Livejournal to work.

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